In 1992, Actor and Philanthropist, Paul Newman and Businessman and Philanthropist, Charley Wood joined forces to create the Double H Ranch, A Seriousfun Camp.
To make their dream a reality they needed to enlist a leader with drive, determination, and heart. With that in mind they enlisted the camp’s founding and enduring CEO, Max Yurenda.
After 30 years at the helm Max Yurenda, CEO of Double H Ranch recently announced his plan to retire at the end of March 2023.
“It has been the honor and privilege of my lifetime to serve as the CEO of Double H Ranch,” said Yurenda. “I am incredibly proud of this organization and the impact we have made. I am humbled and grateful for having this opportunity to witness the power and magic of the Double H experience that will continue to flourish into the future.”
Double H officially opened its doors on July 4, 1993 and has served over 80,000 children dealing with life-threatening illnesses from around the world all completely Free of Charge. It was the second “Hole in the Wall Camp” in what has become a worldwide network of not-for-profit recreational and therapeutic experiences for children with serious illness.
“Max has been at the helm of Double H Ranch since its inception. He was selected as CEO by my dad, Charles R. Wood, as he saw the potential in Max and knew he could carry out the dream and goals he had for this local camp modeled after Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall Camp in CT. Max’s leadership skills have made Double H Ranch a star in the Serious Fun Children’s Network. He will be greatly missed but I know he will leave the camp in the hands of a great team he has cultivated over his many years of service,” shared Charlene Wood, Ranch Board Member and Charles R. Wood Foundation Trustee.
The Double H Ranch resides on 320 acres of land with waterfront access to Lake Vanare. Facilities include camper cabins that accommodate 126 campers, staff cabins that accommodate a total of 125 staff members and volunteer cabins that accommodate 50 volunteers. Program areas include an indoor and outdoor pool, a high ropes course, archery, horseback riding and pasture, picnic pavilion, stage area, dining hall, arts & crafts, ski lodge and two winter ski and snowboard slopes.
Neil Golub Executive Chairman of the Board of The Golub Corporation and Double H Ranch Honorary Life Chairman shared, “I have been close to Max since camp opened in 1993. After having served as Chairman for eight years I know him well. The skills required to manage and lead a 501(c)(3) institution of this complexity are vast. Max Yurenda truly epitomized the best of the best in his field. He has performed as a superstar and everyone close to him would agree.”
The Double H Ranch Board of Directors has launched a nationwide search and engaged a consulting firm with expertise in the recruitment of CEO’s in the NFP and recreational camp world. While the search committee and firm are focused on finding a successor Yurenda will focus on leading the organization as it celebrates its 30th Anniversary.
Some of the highlights of Mr. Yurenda’s 30-year illustrious career include:
- Creating a formal partnership with the Children’s Hospital at Albany Medical Center in the Fall of 1993.
- Forming a strong and dedicated Board of Directors to lead the strategic direction of the organization.
- Strengthening financial sustainability for the organization.
- Encouraging an all-inclusive and welcoming environment that promotes an “I can do it” attitude.
- Establishing a reputation of excellence in the community and NFP sector.
- Leading a successful inaugural capital campaign for the organization with the completion of numerous capital improvements to enhance the accessibility and experience for all.
- Pivoting the organization throughout the COVID Pandemic and successfully providing alternative and virtual programs for our campers and families.
Mr. Yurenda is eager to spend time with family and friends as he enters the next chapter of his journey. He is confident the Double H Ranch is the strongest it has ever been and the leadership at the Board and staff levels will ensure that the Double H Ranch will continue to grow and prosper with his successor.
“Over the past 30 years Max has led this incredible organization with enormous passion and vision. His commitment to bringing magical experiences to thousands of children with serious illness has been an inspiration to his staff, board members, volunteers, and the entire community. Max’s leadership, hard work and so many accomplishments have paved the way for Double H Ranch to continue to bring the Magic to our Kids for many years to come. I look forward to Max’s active involvement in finding his replacement and ensuring an excellent transition with our next leader,” shared Charlie Crew, Chairman of the Board of Directors.